For a long time, user instructions were considered as purely instrumental documents: Instructions had to enable readers to perform tasks with an accompanying device. And even though this still remains the main purpose of user instructions, views on how to accomplish this have changed over the years. The traditional view seemed to assume that when the instructions were correct, readers would automatically be able to use the accompanying device well (Moore, 1997). According to current views, the instructions should motivate readers to keep on reading once they have started doing so (Horton, 1997). This new approach to technical communication is being adopted by a vastly growing group of practitioners in the field, but relatively little research has been conducted so far to test for the effects of this approach. We executed a number of studies to test for the effects of motivational elements in user instructions (Loorbach, Karreman, & Steehouder, 2007, 2009). This short paper is a summary of our most recent study.
|Name||Studies in writing|
|Publisher||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|